- The Reminder
Teenager Daisy, known as Daze, is stunned to hear her late mother's voice coming from her father's locked workroom; upon breaking in to the room, she's even more shocked to see her mother's head sitting on her father's desk, with cables and wires leading from her neck to his computer. It turns out that the head isn't really her mother; it's an artificial intelligence experiment that her father, in his grief, has constructed to look like his dead wife. Keeping the discovery to herself, Daze spends many afternoons talking to her "mom"; when it looks like the experiment may be removed, Daze panics and steals the simulacrum of her mother, intent on saving her this time as she could not save her from suicide the first time. This is an emotionally heavy story with a bizarre twist that takes the creepiness factor beyond The Twilight Zone to Stephen King. With its B-movie central image, the story treads a tenuous line between gripping and absurd, but the author's sure hand at character development makes Daze's preoccupation sympathetic (the revelation of the true nature of her mother's death is especially poignant). The pacing and style will appeal to reluctant readers, while the plot points will satisfy those interested [End Page 486] in the implications of artificial intelligence or who like their family stories with some edge.